The Yugma Network is a pan-Indian youth initiative that works towards achieving ground-level environmental justice through campaigns, language, education, legal and policy interventions, deep understanding, citizen-local govt interactions, and alternatives. Yugma Network started in June 2020 with a campaign led by students against the Draft EIA 2020.
Our aim is to broaden the definition of environment to socio-cultural, economical and political issues, and to include various perspectives of castes, classes, indigenous communities and genders in the discourse.
We are made up of a Language Society (70+ youth working in over 12 Indian languages), an Environmental Justice Clinic (see here), and several different project groups (e.g. education, public consultations, campaigns and more)!
'Yugma' is a word present in many Indian languages and means a confluence of rivers (place where rivers meet). The members of Yugma Network envision it as a collective where ideas, people, languages, actions and perspectives flow together to imagine and act for a grounded and sustainable future.
The Indian roots of our name reflect our rationale that our discussions and solutions for environmental justice must be rooted in the Indian context. This will ensure strategies that are well integrated with the needs of the people and ecology in India. It is important to recognise the interwoven nature of the world today, and hence, the network aims to be globally connected yet locally rooted.
What's in a Name?
We began in June 2020 through a pan-India student campaign against the draft EIA 2020 Notification, led by the Environment Ministry of Ashoka University. We sent many letters to the MOEFCC and the PMO, signed by over 120+ university student unions, groups and clubs, including several law colleges. We also helped organise on-ground strikes, tweetstorms, and national day of actions for EIA. Over the next few months, we worked to connect regional environmental issues with the EIA2020 in various Indian languages.